Raichle is no longer in business, and the Spirit has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best backpacking boots for 2024.
I have had my pair for two years now and throughly enjoy them. Comfortable from the start, they have never caused a problem. The most weight I have carried on them is about 50 lbs. In addition to trail usage in milder weather, during the winter months, I will typically wear them every day.
At the start of each season (late fall/early winter), I heat the leather and throughly saturate them with SnoSeal until they refuse to absorb any more. By doing this, I have not had a problem with either winter snow or heavy rains leaking through. (I have not yet tried drowning them in a creek, though. ;-) )
Other than a darkening of the leather to a deep chocolate brown by the SnoSeal and replacing the laces once, I have not experienced any undue wear and tear. Overall, I have been most pleased with the purchase and would not hesitate to do it again.
Materials: Nubuck leather
Use: short hikes to extended day hikes on/off trails
Break-in Period: 2 weeks
Price Paid: ~$140
I've had three Sprits (over ten years). The first two were great. The last one I bought was from REI. Apparently REI bought this model of boot from Raichle. They've got their company logo stamped all over it now. Don't know what else is diffrent, but soles squeak really bad. There's something inside sole, possibly ridge support, that seems to be squeaking when boot is flexed on any surface! Will need to take them back as it's excessively loud when hiking even on dirt trail. The first two pair of boots I had never did this.
Use: medium trail
Break-in Period: 3 months of moderate use
Price Paid: $155
I love them. I went for a week in the great smokies and didn't have one complaint to make about them other than they are not high enough to cross a three foot deep mountian stream and keep your feet dry :)
Use: Heavy duty
Break-in Period: one week
Price Paid: $140
Supposedly waterproof, but like all other leathers, once broken in they allowed water right through the leather. Great dry weather boot, no good for snow or wet trails.
Use: Cross Country, Snow, 50+ Pack
Break-in Period: 20 miles
Price Paid: ~$80
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Reviewers Paid: $80.00-$155.00